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Visva-Bharati planning to celebrate Basanta Utsav ahead of Holi
Bolpur (West Bengal), Jan 21 - Circumventing its age old tradition, the Visva-Bharati University is considering celebrating Basanta Utsav (Spring Festival) ahead of the March 9 "Dol" (Holi) fest and restrict the entry of visitors to the programme.
A peeved West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee requested Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty to reconsider the plan.
Basanta Utsav, a festival started by the first non-European Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at the university's Santiniketan campus in Birbhum district, is celebrated on the day of Dol, with thousands of people from various parts of India and abroad attending the programme.
However, the central government run university authorities have been over the past few years complaining of the difficulties involved in ensuring order and discipline due to a heavy rush of visitors on Holi.
The university academic council is also toying with the idea of restricting the entry of visitors inside the campus during Basanta Utsava. If the plans come through, then only students and teachers can take part in the festival.
According to sources, Basanta Utsava could be celebrated this year in the third week of February. The likely dates could be February 18 or 19.
Unhappy at the VU's plans, the education minister said he would take up the issue with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"I have told the Vice Chancellor that the central government run university is within its rights to to take such a decision, but "the effect should not spill over to the state."
"I will talk to the Chief Minister. We will look into why they can't hold the festival on the day of Dol, despite the state's law and order situation being fine," he said.
Chatterjee claimed that the Vice Chancellor told that the varsity authorities did not get adequate number of police personnel to ensure security durig the festival.
He alleged that the vice chancellor seems to be "acting under pressure" and stated that the government would not watch silently if there is any attempt to "weaken Bengal's heritage and culture in an institution named after Tagore".
He also questioned the planned restriction on the entry of visitors during the festival.
"Why is it that only students and teachers can participate, and no one else? How can it be done selectively? I request them to reconsider it," he said.
Chatterjee said he would try to find out the issues faced by the university and arrive at a solution.
Polymath Tagore, who holds the unique feat of having compose dthe national anthems of two countries - India and Bangladesh - founded the university in 1921.
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